“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” NKJV
Dad loved Christmas. The season began with a big box of oranges and a bowl of mixed nuts and a nutcracker to break the shells. Mom slipped a few wrapped gifts almost nightly so that when we woke up in the morning something new would be there to ramp up our anticipation. And on Christmas Eve, it sounded like a frantic North Pole Workshop outside my bedroom door.
Names of the Messiah
Of all the names of the Messiah listed in Isaiah 9:6, Everlasting Father is perhaps my favorite, because I understand and appreciate the term “Father.” It evokes memories of protection and care. At Christmas it reminds me of a father who loved to give gifts, full of anticipation and Santa Claus-ish fun.
Our understanding of Everlasting Father may be hedged in by our own earthly fathers, good or bad. Yet, while I am privileged to have had an earthly father who loved me and cared for me, I’m quickly overwhelmed by the title, “Everlasting Father.”
God the Father, Jesus the Son, and Jesus’ declaration that “the Father and I are One,” befuddles my brain. How is it all possible? It’s too big, too great, too vast. Too infinite. He is that far beyond human understanding.
Tasked with being Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, surely found his own story mind-boggling as well. Betrothed to Mary, he had no conception of what lay ahead. He discovered his fiancé was pregnant. Knowing himself not to be the child’s physical father, his world turned upside down. Shocked, devastated, and confused, his plans for their lives together lay in shambles.
Joseph’s life would never be the same
Certainly Mary’s life would always bear the brunt of people’s scorn and disgrace, but Joseph’s life would never be the same either. He would not escape unscathed. It’s mark would not easily erase.
By law, sexual unfaithfulness during the binding betrothal period carried the death penalty by stoning. But Joseph, “a just man,” (Matthew 1:19), who cared deeply for Mary, chose to show compassion. He decided to “divorce her quietly.”
In his troubled sleep, the angel of the Lord appeared to him.
Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:20-21 NKJV
From that day forward, Joseph became the earthly protector of God’s Son. The Baby in his care, was the long awaited Messiah, the Everlasting Father. It was a difficult assignment, as the forces of heaven and earth pitted against Jesus.
From that day forward, Joseph became the earthly protector of God’s Son. Click To TweetJoseph’s role as earthly father would have been challenged in many ways.
With every mundane question, “Is this your son?” and accompanying each introduction, “this is my son,” Joseph would be reminded of his Son’s true Father. No earthly father had ever before been asked to do what he did.
In previous posts we’ve looked at the titles, Wonderful Counselor and Mighty God. They describe a Ruler beyond human understanding, stronger and more powerful than any person can imagine. The name, Everlasting Father, depicts a self-existing, Infinite Father of time, without beginning or end.
Everlasting Father means Father of Eternity. Isaiah’s forward look describes a Messiah without end. Our backward look, sees Jesus proclaiming Himself without end or beginning. He existed before Abraham (John 8:58), and in creation (John 1:1).
The name, Everlasting Father, depicts a self-existing, Infinite Father of time, without beginning or end. Click To TweetHe declared “I and my Father are one,” (John 10:30); and chastised Philip with these words: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father,” (John 14:9-10).
Jesus the Messiah, the Everlasting Father, was in nature and essence one with God. Unlike human fathers whose presence will one day return to dust, Jesus is our Father For Ever.
Not a Christmas goes by without me thinking about my dad’s love for the holiday. He did his best to make the season special and make our wishes come true. But, his time came and is now gone. Unlike human fathers whose presence will one day return to dust, Jesus is our Father For Ever. Click To Tweet
This Christmas, I am acutely aware of life’s fleeting. I recognize how brief is our time span, and I’m drawn to the importance of what lasts for more than a day or a season. May we mark this advent time by lingering in the presence of a Father Forever.